By Jonathan Santiago, April 18, 2023
After Bronco pitcher Caleb Reyes struck out seven Cal State East Bay batters March 11, over seven innings on four hits and no runs allowed, the CCAA recognized him as Pitcher of the Week.
Caleb would do it again against Cal State Dominguez Hills April 1, pitching eight innings, striking out seven and allowing no runs. This earned Reyes his second CCAA Pitcher of the Week selection of the season.
These performances are highlights for Reyes who is having a stellar season on the mound. So far this season, Reyes has pitched 38.2 innings in his seven games where he has pitched as a starter and reliever.
Reyes shared his thoughts about both pitching out of the bullpen and starting on the mound.
“(As a starter) I’m not worried if something doesn’t feel right like my slider or changeup in the bullpen,” said Reyes. “I’m going to find it as the game progresses, and I’m thinking more longevity in that scenario. If I am coming out of the bullpen, I just try to make sure that everything is working how I want it when I’m warming up because if I am coming in late innings or in a key situation, I need to be as sharp as I can be from the get go.”
Bolstering a tremendous 1.16 ERA, Reyes shared his thoughts on such an astonishing statistic.
“It’s definitely something I am proud of,” said Reyes. “I’ve been proud of the way I’ve been able to limit those innings and limit walks, especially free bases, and letting my defense work. It is just a statistic. As long as I am giving us a shot to win or stay in the game towards the back third of the game, then that’s all I should do. I set a goal for myself this season numbers-wise and that is well within reach.”
Reyes grew up in the San Fernando Valley, rooting for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He watched and supported the team even before he began to play baseball himself.
As far as inspiration goes, Reyes does not believe there is anything in particular from anyone that he tries to implement into his own game.
“It is more just the idea of having that internal confidence that drives me to be set in my routines and set in my goals to go out there and play to the best of my ability everyday while trying to stay as humble and team-oriented as I can,” said Reyes.
Reyes continued, “It is all about the win at the end of the day. Yes, your performance impacts that. It’s an individual sport with a team aspect. If everyone does their job, things are going to work out in your favor most of the time.”
Reyes surrendered his first run of the season March 11 in an 8-1 victory against Cal State Monterey Bay. The scoreless streak to begin the season was all the more impressive considering Reyes has played other positions throughout his career.
Reyes began playing baseball at the age of 13. He spent his high school years at Birmingham Community Charter High School bouncing between first base and catcher until he was recruited by Occidental College. It was during his final year there that he decided to go a different route.
“During COVID, I made that switch to the mound,” said Reyes. “I was really thinking about my eligibility and what I could do after I graduated with my bachelor’s and if I could go into a master’s program, which I am in now. As a catcher, I wasn’t that good offensively. I was a good defensive catcher, but offensively it was not going to cut it. I tried pitching and did pretty well in some live at bat sessions and just kept working at it. I made the full transition my senior year which was last season, my first season pitching and just took off with it.”
Throughout his first season pitching for the Broncos, Reyes has managed to strike out 38 batters.
“Our pitching coach does a lot of scouting before our weekend series trying to develop the best plan to attack hitters,” said Reyes. “The biggest part of that plan is not trying to do too much on the mound and not trying to strike everyone out,” said Reyes.
While holding a fastball, slider and a changeup in his pitch repertoire, the development of a fourth pitch has helped him strike out many batters thus far into the season.
“I love striking guys out on my cutter, which is just a harder slider,” said Reyes. “It is a pitch that I am very proud of because I developed it this past summer. It is really my favorite pitch to throw, but it really just depends on whatever is going to get the hitter out at the end of the day. That’s the pitch I will throw.”
As Reyes finishes up his master’s program here at Cal Poly Pomona, he hopes to help the Broncos achieve success from the mound. Reyes will continue to use the pitches that have brought him success so far this season and help assist the Broncos in making a playoff push.
Feature image courtesy of Caleb Reyes
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